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A counter with a chalkboard menu and sign that reads Clam Bar.
The clam bar at Paul’s Daughter in Coney Island is a great place for raw clams.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

16 Reasons to Order Clams in NY This Fall

Clams aren’t only a summertime favorite. Here’s where to find some of the best clams in town later in the year

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The clam bar at Paul’s Daughter in Coney Island is a great place for raw clams.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

For decades, New Yorkers have had a special relationship with clams. Sicilian and southern Italian immigrants stuffed them and baked them, and incorporated clams into pastas. New Englanders made chowders said to be originated by Bretons, while Bostonians claim to have invented the fried clam — though the idea of frying seafood could also have come from New Orleans, with its mixed African, Spanish, and French heritage.

Chinese and other Asian immigrants have contributed their recipes, too, making today the best time ever to eat clams here — whether they be littlenecks or other quahogs (derived from a Native American word that means “horse fish”), razor clams, softshells, Manila clams, or the myriad other varieties found in area markets. Here are some clam dishes that we love and where to get them.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Clam strip basket at Denmos

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340 Main St S
Southbury, CT 06488
(203) 264-4626
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This is the Connecticut clam shack you probably dream of: A blue-roofed frame structure surrounded by picnic tables, with a menu that favors locally sourced seafood but also features burgers and foot-long hot dogs. The clam strips are crisp, freshly-fried, and delivered in abundance, served with lemon wedges along with good, crinkle-cut fries. The lobster roll is another must. The place closes for the winter sometime in December until early spring, so check Instagram for exact dates.

Fried clams strips on one side, french fries on the other, separated by a bright yellow lemon wedge.
Clam strip basket at Denmos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. Clams casino pizza at Modern Apizza

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874 State St
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 776-5306
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Sure you can find a good clam pie at any of New Haven’s famous pizzerias — Frank Pepe’s white clam pie is well-lauded — but Modern serves a pizza inspired by clams casino. It features minced bivalves on a charred, coal-oven crust, with green peppers and bacon; a winning combination of smoke and brine if ever there was one. The place was founded in 1934, so maybe it’s not so modern after all.

An uneven round circle dappled with black around the circumference.
Clams casino pizza at Modern Apizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Garlic clam bread at the Queensboro

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80-02 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(929) 296-0038
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From raw clams to chowders to pastas and pizzas, the clam-centric menu has been long established, which is why finding a new and novel clam dish is such a delight. That was my reaction when I first tasted garlic clam bread at the Queensboro, a neighborhood bistro in Jackson Heights. This soft flatbread doesn’t feel like a pizza, and the garlic flavor is way forward, though melds with the bite of clams and the pucker of lemon.

An amorphous and dramatically lit flatbread with parsley and minced clams on a grooved surface.
Garlic clam bread at the Queensboro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

4. Manhattan clam chowder at Grand Central Oyster Bar

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89 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017
(212) 490-6650
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What’s in a name? Yes, the moniker of this recently-reopened transit hub mainstay suggests it devotes its entire attention to that other popular bivalve, the oyster. But there are just as many clam delights on the menu, from raw clams to a pair of chowders available at the snaking lunch counter and in the formal dining room. This being a Yankee seafood place, you may be tempted to order the mild New England clam chowder, but the zesty and peppery Manhattan clam chowder is every bit as good.

A spoon holds up a bite of red soup in a white bowl.
A bowl of red, Grand Central Oyster Bar style.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

5. Clams with basil at Main Street Imperial Taiwanese Gourmet

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59-10 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 886-8788
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For 24 years, Main Street Imperial has been regaling customers with home-style Taiwanese food, the specialties of which overlap with mainland Chinese food, but with some startling differences. One lies in the use of basil, a flavoring more often associated with Southeast Asian food. Clams with basil is a dish pungent with the licorice-y herb, and the mild bitterness of the clams forms the perfect flavor complement.

Clams in their open shells with a brownish translucent sauce.
Clams with basil at Main Street Imperial Taiwanese Gourmet.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. Fideos with chorizo, clams, and garlic aioli at Casa Mono

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52 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 253-2773
Visit Website

This fundamentally great Spanish restaurant, an updated facsimile of an actual restaurant in Spain, always has shellfish on its shifting menu. Keep a weather-eye out for razor clams, which are only seasonally available, but in the their absence don’t miss the fideos — angel hair noodles browned to be crisp on top resting on, and mainly concealing, a bed of a dozen or so in-shell Manila clams.

Very skinny brown noodles on top with small shellfish shells sticking out around the edges underneath.
Lots of clams under this mass of fideos at Casa Mono.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Clams casino at Gene's

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73 W 11th St
New York, NY 10011
(212) 675-2048
Visit Website

The origin of clams casino is disputed, with both New York City (1917) and Narragansett, Rhode Island (1894) claiming to have invented them. The dish consists of baked clams on the half shell — stuffed with bacon, green or red peppers, and bread crumbs — though the latter ingredient was added under the influence of the Italian dish of clams oreganata. Either way, bivalves treated this way are delicious, and Village veteran Gene’s is one of the few places in town that still serves them.

A half dozen clams in yellow broth, the clams heaped with bacon and green peppers.
Clams casino modifies the strong taste of clams with bacon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. Any clam dish at The Clam

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420 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 242-7420
Visit Website

For the true clam lover, few places are as good as the West Village restaurant known only as the Clam. The menu usually flaunts several clam recipes, including, at various times over the years, raw littlenecks on the half shell, clam chowder, spaghetti with red clam sauce, clam pizza, clams in chowder sauce, and clams stuffed with pancetta. Likewise, there’s a near-legendary clam dip, served with potato chips made in-house.

Four clams in their shells in a white sauce.
Clams in chowder sauce at The Clam.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

9. Hamaguri saka mushi at Beron Beron

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164 1st Ave
New York, NY 10009
(212) 477-1005

You can really steam clams in just about any liquid, and beer or wine are popular choices. But at East Village mainstay Beron Beron, which replaced Sapporo East (one of the neighborhood’s first Japanese restaurants) in 2014, the cherrystones are steamed in sake, which adds a wonderful musky flavor to the bivalves.

A bowl of clams with shells open so you can see the creatures inside.
Clams steamed in sake at Beron Beron.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

10. Clams oreganata at Bamonte's

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32 Withers St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 384-8831

In southern Italy, and now in Italian-American cuisine, few dishes are as prized as clams oreganata — delicate littlenecks heaped with breadcrumbs flavored with oregano and garlic. The clams are sometimes minced for easier eating before returning to the shell, so make sure there’s plenty of bread to sop up the juices, which are, in many ways, the best part of the dish.

A dozen small clams in their shells heaped with breadcrumbs with lots of broth in the bottom of the plate.
Clams oreganata at Bamonte’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

11. Four clam soups at Chowder Bar

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123 Maple Ave
Bay Shore, NY 11706
(631) 665-9859
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By the dock where ferries depart for Fire Island, Chowder Bar is a cozy seafood tavern open all year. This is in the middle of clam country near where the creatures are pulled from the weeds with tongs, but the glory of the place are its chowders. New England and Manhattan clam chowder head the list, but there’s also a version called Long Island clam chowder, which is actually a mixture of the other two chowders.

For cups of soup in square formation in colors ranging from cream to deep red.
From top left clockwise: New England, Manhattan, and Long Island clam chowder; clam bisque at Chowder Bar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

12. Ipswich clams at Bigelow's New England Fried Clams

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79 N Long Beach Rd
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
(516) 678-3878
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Long Island, especially along the south shore, is littered with fabled restaurants specializing in clams. Some of these places are seasonal, but others are year-round. Founded in 1939, Bigelow’s is one of the latter, serving lots of clam specialties in the New England-style, including full-belly fried clams. The Ipswich softshells are cooked to a golden brown perfection, offered with coleslaw and lemon wedges.

A heap of nicely browned fried clams.
Ipswich clams at Bigelow’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

13. New England clam chowder at Nick's Lobster House

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2777 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11234
(718) 253-7117
Visit Website

You might as well be in Maine the moment you step into Nick’s Lobster House, near the terminus of Flatbush Avenue on Mill Basin, with views of houses on stilts across the water from the outdoor deck. The New England clam chowder is damn near-perfect — not too thick or thin — and plenty of minced chowder clams fight with potato cubes in the roiling, off-white expanse.

A spoon holds up a full measure of cream-colored chowder over the bowl.
Creamy, creamy clam chowder at Nick’s
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

14. Clam pie at Lee's Tavern

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60 Hancock St
Staten Island, NY 10305
(718) 667-9749
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Right by the Dongan Hills station on the Staten Island Railway, Lee’s Tavern was founded in 1940 and is a cozy, wood-lined refuge. It’s also the principal proponent of the borough’s bar pie style, with pizzas that come in two sizes, featuring a crust firm enough that you can hold a slice with one hand while drinking a beer with the other. Available in red or white, the clam pie is perhaps the best at using that shellfish in the borough, though Denino’s gives it a run for its money.

A round pizza with small gnarly clams planted into a white sauce.
Clam pie at Lee’s Tavern.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

15. Raw clams at Paul's Daughter

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1001 Riegelmann Boardwalk
Brooklyn, NY 11224
(718) 449-4252

This boardwalk institution has regaled Coney Island with corn dogs, soft serve ice cream, and raw and fried clams for 60 years. The raw clam service, a Coney Island tradition, is especially good, featuring a half-dozen, freshly-opened hard-shell clams on the half shell served with a lemon wedge — not exactly what you’d expect from a place specializing in fried foods. Paul’s is open six months of the year, up until mid-autumn; if closed, traipse on over to Nathan’s Famous, which also offers raw clams.

Raw seafood poised on its shells seen from above.
Raw littlenecks at Paul’s Daughter, where you can eat them with briny offshore winds in your nostrils.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

16. Steamed clams at Bahrs Landing Famous Seafood Restaurant & Marina

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2 Bay Ave
Highlands, NJ 07732
(732) 872-1245
Visit Website

Standing at the foot of the bridge that leads to Sandy Hook and the length of the Jersey shore beyond, Bahrs is a restaurant and marina, with a less formal dockside eatery called Moby’s that’s open during the season (which ends sometime in October). Both restaurants offer steamers — softshell clams steamed in their shells (and, in this case, in a net), presented with clam broth and drawn butter for your dipping pleasure. The taste is sweet, chewy, and ultra-briny.

A hand with a silver ring on one finger opens up a clam shell.
Steamer clams at Bahr’s or Moby’s provide tactile as well as culinary pleasure.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

1. Clam strip basket at Denmos

340 Main St S, Southbury, CT 06488
Fried clams strips on one side, french fries on the other, separated by a bright yellow lemon wedge.
Clam strip basket at Denmos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This is the Connecticut clam shack you probably dream of: A blue-roofed frame structure surrounded by picnic tables, with a menu that favors locally sourced seafood but also features burgers and foot-long hot dogs. The clam strips are crisp, freshly-fried, and delivered in abundance, served with lemon wedges along with good, crinkle-cut fries. The lobster roll is another must. The place closes for the winter sometime in December until early spring, so check Instagram for exact dates.

340 Main St S
Southbury, CT 06488

2. Clams casino pizza at Modern Apizza

874 State St, New Haven, CT 06511
An uneven round circle dappled with black around the circumference.
Clams casino pizza at Modern Apizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sure you can find a good clam pie at any of New Haven’s famous pizzerias — Frank Pepe’s white clam pie is well-lauded — but Modern serves a pizza inspired by clams casino. It features minced bivalves on a charred, coal-oven crust, with green peppers and bacon; a winning combination of smoke and brine if ever there was one. The place was founded in 1934, so maybe it’s not so modern after all.

874 State St
New Haven, CT 06511

3. Garlic clam bread at the Queensboro

80-02 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
An amorphous and dramatically lit flatbread with parsley and minced clams on a grooved surface.
Garlic clam bread at the Queensboro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

From raw clams to chowders to pastas and pizzas, the clam-centric menu has been long established, which is why finding a new and novel clam dish is such a delight. That was my reaction when I first tasted garlic clam bread at the Queensboro, a neighborhood bistro in Jackson Heights. This soft flatbread doesn’t feel like a pizza, and the garlic flavor is way forward, though melds with the bite of clams and the pucker of lemon.

80-02 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

4. Manhattan clam chowder at Grand Central Oyster Bar

89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
A spoon holds up a bite of red soup in a white bowl.
A bowl of red, Grand Central Oyster Bar style.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

What’s in a name? Yes, the moniker of this recently-reopened transit hub mainstay suggests it devotes its entire attention to that other popular bivalve, the oyster. But there are just as many clam delights on the menu, from raw clams to a pair of chowders available at the snaking lunch counter and in the formal dining room. This being a Yankee seafood place, you may be tempted to order the mild New England clam chowder, but the zesty and peppery Manhattan clam chowder is every bit as good.

89 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017

5. Clams with basil at Main Street Imperial Taiwanese Gourmet

59-10 Main St, Flushing, NY 11355
Clams in their open shells with a brownish translucent sauce.
Clams with basil at Main Street Imperial Taiwanese Gourmet.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

For 24 years, Main Street Imperial has been regaling customers with home-style Taiwanese food, the specialties of which overlap with mainland Chinese food, but with some startling differences. One lies in the use of basil, a flavoring more often associated with Southeast Asian food. Clams with basil is a dish pungent with the licorice-y herb, and the mild bitterness of the clams forms the perfect flavor complement.

59-10 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355

6. Fideos with chorizo, clams, and garlic aioli at Casa Mono

52 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003
Very skinny brown noodles on top with small shellfish shells sticking out around the edges underneath.
Lots of clams under this mass of fideos at Casa Mono.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This fundamentally great Spanish restaurant, an updated facsimile of an actual restaurant in Spain, always has shellfish on its shifting menu. Keep a weather-eye out for razor clams, which are only seasonally available, but in the their absence don’t miss the fideos — angel hair noodles browned to be crisp on top resting on, and mainly concealing, a bed of a dozen or so in-shell Manila clams.

52 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003

7. Clams casino at Gene's

73 W 11th St, New York, NY 10011
A half dozen clams in yellow broth, the clams heaped with bacon and green peppers.
Clams casino modifies the strong taste of clams with bacon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The origin of clams casino is disputed, with both New York City (1917) and Narragansett, Rhode Island (1894) claiming to have invented them. The dish consists of baked clams on the half shell — stuffed with bacon, green or red peppers, and bread crumbs — though the latter ingredient was added under the influence of the Italian dish of clams oreganata. Either way, bivalves treated this way are delicious, and Village veteran Gene’s is one of the few places in town that still serves them.

73 W 11th St
New York, NY 10011

8. Any clam dish at The Clam

420 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
Four clams in their shells in a white sauce.
Clams in chowder sauce at The Clam.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

For the true clam lover, few places are as good as the West Village restaurant known only as the Clam. The menu usually flaunts several clam recipes, including, at various times over the years, raw littlenecks on the half shell, clam chowder, spaghetti with red clam sauce, clam pizza, clams in chowder sauce, and clams stuffed with pancetta. Likewise, there’s a near-legendary clam dip, served with potato chips made in-house.

420 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014

9. Hamaguri saka mushi at Beron Beron

164 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009
A bowl of clams with shells open so you can see the creatures inside.
Clams steamed in sake at Beron Beron.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

You can really steam clams in just about any liquid, and beer or wine are popular choices. But at East Village mainstay Beron Beron, which replaced Sapporo East (one of the neighborhood’s first Japanese restaurants) in 2014, the cherrystones are steamed in sake, which adds a wonderful musky flavor to the bivalves.

164 1st Ave
New York, NY 10009

10. Clams oreganata at Bamonte's

32 Withers St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
A dozen small clams in their shells heaped with breadcrumbs with lots of broth in the bottom of the plate.
Clams oreganata at Bamonte’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

In southern Italy, and now in Italian-American cuisine, few dishes are as prized as clams oreganata — delicate littlenecks heaped with breadcrumbs flavored with oregano and garlic. The clams are sometimes minced for easier eating before returning to the shell, so make sure there’s plenty of bread to sop up the juices, which are, in many ways, the best part of the dish.

32 Withers St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

11. Four clam soups at Chowder Bar

123 Maple Ave, Bay Shore, NY 11706
For cups of soup in square formation in colors ranging from cream to deep red.
From top left clockwise: New England, Manhattan, and Long Island clam chowder; clam bisque at Chowder Bar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

By the dock where ferries depart for Fire Island, Chowder Bar is a cozy seafood tavern open all year. This is in the middle of clam country near where the creatures are pulled from the weeds with tongs, but the glory of the place are its chowders. New England and Manhattan clam chowder head the list, but there’s also a version called Long Island clam chowder, which is actually a mixture of the other two chowders.

123 Maple Ave
Bay Shore, NY 11706

12. Ipswich clams at Bigelow's New England Fried Clams

79 N Long Beach Rd, Rockville Centre, NY 11570
A heap of nicely browned fried clams.
Ipswich clams at Bigelow’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Long Island, especially along the south shore, is littered with fabled restaurants specializing in clams. Some of these places are seasonal, but others are year-round. Founded in 1939, Bigelow’s is one of the latter, serving lots of clam specialties in the New England-style, including full-belly fried clams. The Ipswich softshells are cooked to a golden brown perfection, offered with coleslaw and lemon wedges.

79 N Long Beach Rd
Rockville Centre, NY 11570

13. New England clam chowder at Nick's Lobster House

2777 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11234
A spoon holds up a full measure of cream-colored chowder over the bowl.
Creamy, creamy clam chowder at Nick’s
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

You might as well be in Maine the moment you step into Nick’s Lobster House, near the terminus of Flatbush Avenue on Mill Basin, with views of houses on stilts across the water from the outdoor deck. The New England clam chowder is damn near-perfect — not too thick or thin — and plenty of minced chowder clams fight with potato cubes in the roiling, off-white expanse.

2777 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11234

14. Clam pie at Lee's Tavern

60 Hancock St, Staten Island, NY 10305
A round pizza with small gnarly clams planted into a white sauce.
Clam pie at Lee’s Tavern.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Right by the Dongan Hills station on the Staten Island Railway, Lee’s Tavern was founded in 1940 and is a cozy, wood-lined refuge. It’s also the principal proponent of the borough’s bar pie style, with pizzas that come in two sizes, featuring a crust firm enough that you can hold a slice with one hand while drinking a beer with the other. Available in red or white, the clam pie is perhaps the best at using that shellfish in the borough, though Denino’s gives it a run for its money.

60 Hancock St
Staten Island, NY 10305

15. Raw clams at Paul's Daughter

1001 Riegelmann Boardwalk, Brooklyn, NY 11224
Raw seafood poised on its shells seen from above.
Raw littlenecks at Paul’s Daughter, where you can eat them with briny offshore winds in your nostrils.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This boardwalk institution has regaled Coney Island with corn dogs, soft serve ice cream, and raw and fried clams for 60 years. The raw clam service, a Coney Island tradition, is especially good, featuring a half-dozen, freshly-opened hard-shell clams on the half shell served with a lemon wedge — not exactly what you’d expect from a place specializing in fried foods. Paul’s is open six months of the year, up until mid-autumn; if closed, traipse on over to Nathan’s Famous, which also offers raw clams.

1001 Riegelmann Boardwalk
Brooklyn, NY 11224

Related Maps

16. Steamed clams at Bahrs Landing Famous Seafood Restaurant & Marina

2 Bay Ave, Highlands, NJ 07732
A hand with a silver ring on one finger opens up a clam shell.
Steamer clams at Bahr’s or Moby’s provide tactile as well as culinary pleasure.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Standing at the foot of the bridge that leads to Sandy Hook and the length of the Jersey shore beyond, Bahrs is a restaurant and marina, with a less formal dockside eatery called Moby’s that’s open during the season (which ends sometime in October). Both restaurants offer steamers — softshell clams steamed in their shells (and, in this case, in a net), presented with clam broth and drawn butter for your dipping pleasure. The taste is sweet, chewy, and ultra-briny.

2 Bay Ave
Highlands, NJ 07732

Related Maps